Apeldoorn. 26 oktober 2022

Artikel in the Economist, 19 oktober 2022

Health-care insurers and providers, such as Britain’s various national health services, should start paying for delivery techniques that help those who wish to give up the drugs but who need to do so gradually in order to avoid severe withdrawal effects.
These include liquid formulations, tapering strips which contain pills with progressively smaller drug concentrations, and the services of pharmacies which prepare bespoke doses.
In the Netherlands, 70% of people using tapering strips have managed to quit successfully.All this could cost more than refilling prescrip­tions today. But with so many people on the drugs, the costs of side-effects will soon pile up. Add to that the misery of the millions whose lives have been robbed of common joys by near-useless pres­crip­tions, and the case for change is unanswerable’

P68:   “Tapering strips” ―prescriptions of pills that contain smaller and smaller amounts of a drug― are available in the Netherlands and have been shown to result in a 70% quit rate.
But the Netherlands is an exception, and the strips are too expensive for a lot of those in other countries who try to import the Dutch versions. An alternative is to obtain tapering doses from a compounding pharmacy (a business which can measure out minuscule amounts of the pills). But that, too, is expensive ― and not usually covered by health insurance. So patients are stuck.
This unwillingness to ante-up is, though, short-sighted. Health-care systems face a risk of there being growing numbers of ageing patients who start to experience the worst side-effects of the longterm use of antidepressants. There will be extra falls, strokes, seizures, heart problems, surgery complications and more. Pay now. Or pay double later.

Pauline Dinkelberg, voorzitter VA

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